The allegations against Epic Charter School are deeply troubling.
In February, the Tulsa World reported that the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation once again was investigating Epic, a publicly funded charter school managed by a for-profit company.
In June, Oklahoma Watch reported administrators were allowing, encouraging or pressuring the virtual school’s teachers to manipulate’ enrollment to improve bonus pay of employees. The school denied the allegations.
The Frontier then reported that Epic obtained personal information of thousands of Oklahoma public school teachers in an attempt to add hundreds of faculty.
Earlier this week, The Oklahoman reported that a state investigation alleged the virtual charter school system embezzled millions in state funds by inflating enrollment counts with “ghost students.”
However, Shelly Hickman, assistant superintendent of communications for Epic, referred to the allegations as a "coordinated effort” against a fast-growing school that "makes status quo education lobbying groups uncomfortable.”
On Friday, two Republican leaders — Gov. Kevin Stitt and State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister — called for an investigative audit of Epic. Stitt formally asked State Auditor and Inspector Cindy Byrd to audit the school and “all related entities,” including looking back three years.
“As every public education dollar is precious, it is critical that there be full transparency and accountability for how those dollars are spent. I commend Gov. Stitt In calling for this audit to help shed light on the matter,” Hofmeister said in a released statement.
To date, no charges have been filed. We need to let the process continue through the legal system.
If these allegations prove to be true, that would be unfortunate for our state with its past track record of funding public education.